Fall In Love Like a Comic

Manga Artist and Writer: Chitose Yagami
Reviewed on May 27, 2010

The story: Well, the title gives it away, really. High school manga artist asks a guy to help her experience having a boyfriend for research. (Manga-like) romance ensues.

Choosing stuff to review is harder than I thought. When you've read a lot of the stuff I do it gets difficult to bring one specific story to mind. Remembering the theme helped, though—which manga would practically define shoujo? And then I recalled one published in a magazine with "Cheese" printed in big, bold letters on the front cover. Perfect.

The heroine is Rena Sakura, a cute little highschool girl who wears ribbons in her hair and falls in love within the standard shoujo week. The love interest is a guy who's...well, someone who's just about as interesting as almost every shoujo male lead. The plot is thin as paper and conflicts are resolved before you can care. And yet, despite the flaws, it was likeable.

That's because it's like the mangaka knew the story was cheesy from the premise, and ran with it. The art is sparkly, the male lead consciously acts like the main character of a manga, and the heroine literally melts on contact with him. The story has pretty much every common plot device in shoujo, but the entire thing spans only about half a dozen chapters, as if the writer wanted to cram as many cliché plots in there as possible. Whether it was done on purpose or not, it's near impossible to take the story seriously, and all you're really left with is the cuteness. Like the art.

Now art in shoujo is something I rarely care to appreciate (I prefer shounen illustrations, sorry), but Like a Comic seemed to have went overboard on the cute art. I'm talking about minimal shading, characters in almost-chibi form, wispy lines, large, sparkling eyes—what you see in most other shoujo, but taken up a notch. And then, this panel comes up. After several pages of bare, white backgrounds or spontaneously blooming flowers, this just caught me off guard. I mean, with that detail you'd think it wasn't from the same manga as this.

Like a Comic isn't the best of shoujo, but it's one of the most shoujo comics out there. I guess that's what made me like it. It's over the top in its portrayal of the genre, like those old action movies. You know it's crap to a lot of people, but you like it for those same reasons they hate it. I think people have a term for that. You might not see it that way, but my suggestion is to read it when you're bored and in need of a really light, brainless read of a cute story.

'Till next time.

© Yves Macatangay May 2010 Some Rights Reserved.

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